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Big League Stew

The Juice: Cardinals move to brink of NL Central title with win and losses by Pirates, Reds

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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(USA Today)

Season No. 6 of the Juice is almost complete! Stop by in the final days of the regular season for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.

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On the heels of rookie Michael Wacha’s near no-hitter Tuesday night, another St. Louis Cardinals rookie right-hander, Shelby Miller, was pretty good himself on Wednesday afternoon, holding the Washington Nationals to one run on four hits over six innings in the Cardinals 4-1 victory.

Four Cardinals relievers — Seth Maness, Kevin Siegrist, Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal — combined to record the final nine outs, securing Miller’s 15th victory. Like Miller, all four relievers are 24 or younger, but each has played an integral part in the Cardinals success. Success that Miller hopes is just getting started.

From the Associated Press:

''We know what's at stake and what we need to do to get the job done, how many games we need to win,'' Miller said. ''Hopefully, we can just win them all.

Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann was just hoping to win one more before calling it a season. He was denied in his final bid to become the NL’s first and only 20-game winner.

• Shelby Miller's 15 wins are the most by a Cardinals rookie since Dick Hughes won 16 in 1967.

• Jon Jay went 2-for-3 and is now hitting .340 during his current 11-game hitting streak.

• The Cardinals magic number in the Central is down to one.

Cubs 4, Pirates 2: St. Louis received some unexpected assistance from the rival Chicago Cubs on Wednesday. Of course the Cubs also had to overcome themselves to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, but their effort was aided significantly by Darnell McDonald's sixth inning three-run homer off Francisco Liriano.

Mets 1, Reds 0: The Cardinals also received help from 33-year-old right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka, who blanked the Cincinnati Reds on four hits over 7 2/3 innings. The Mets scored their lone run in the fourth inning on Eric Young's RBI single scoring Wilfredo Tovar, and also figured out a way to stop Billy Hamilton on the bases.

Rays 8, Yankees 3: The Yankees postseason chances were officially squashed by Evan Longoria. Tampa Bay's third baseman homered twice and drove in four.

Tigers 1, Twins 0: Detroit clinches their third consecutive AL Central championship.

Indians 7, White Sox 2: A division title is out of the question, but Cleveland holds strong in the second AL wild card spot. They've won 14 in a row over the White Sox.

Rangers 7, Astros 3: Houston is doing their best to save the Rangers season.

Mariners 6, Royals 0: We also bid adieu to the Royals following their elimination from postseason contention. A winning season is a big step, though.

Red Sox 15, Rockies 5: A needed win for Boston on a special night for Todd Helton.

Brewers 4, Braves 0: Right-hander Kyle Lohse emerged from the rubble created by the Carlos Gomez vs. The World fracas in the first inning to throw a two-hit shutout.

Angels 3, A's 1: Oakland falls to two games behind Boston for AL's No. 1 seed.

Giants 6, Dodgers 4: Barry Zito earned his first win since May 30 against the A's. The Dodgers are 2 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the NL's best record.

Orioles 9, Blue Jays 5: Baltimore connected for four home runs, including the first of 21-year-old prospect Jonathan Schoop's career.

Marlins 3, Phillies 2: Rookie shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria drove in all three for Miami.

Padres 12, Diamondbacks 2: Plenty of offensive support for Ian Kennedy as he knocks off his former employer.

''They're better than us this year. They had our number. They outplayed us. We had leads late, but they seemed to fight and come back. They had a few walk-offs.''

— Robin Ventura on the Indians

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(USA Today)

One last tip of the hat for Todd Helton.

• With the Yankees eliminated, Mariano Rivera will finish his career with 42 postseason saves, matching his uniform number

• Evan Longoria has four multi-homer games against the Yankees since start of 2008 season.

• This is David Ortiz's seventh season with 100 or more RBIs for the Red Sox. Only Ted Williams with nine and Jim Rice with eight have more.

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